The 115th Christmas Bird Count was held in Campbell River between Christmas and New Years, on Dec. 27.
Twelve teams of 34 volunteers scoured their designated areas from sun-rise to sun-set, identifying, counting and recording as many birds as they could see or hear.
Perhaps because of the rainstorm that day, or recent cold winter weather, some bird species were difficult to spot, hunkering down to conserve energy. Not so the birders, who have to head outdoors on the designated count day, no matter what the weather.
“Must be an IQ test,” said Charley Vaughn, at the après-count get together, after hearing how different groups stayed in their cars, went to Tim Hortons or braved the freezing rain storm that started out the count, even while the birds were staying dry. Luckily the rain stopped, the sun came out and the birders were able to complete the count.
“We have a perfect walk on our route,” said Luisa Richardson. “Wetlands and forests on one side, backyards with bird feeders on the other – that’s pretty rich birding for our team. We saw a Hooded Merganser and Belted Kingfisher, but the Varied Thrushes and Stellar Jays were very secretive, harder to see.”
The data collected will be combined by the Audubon National Society with data sent in by tens of thousands of similar participants throughout the Americas. Trends in bird populations are analysed and conservation efforts directed where needed most.
On the West Coast, habitat loss or degradation is the chief threats to bird populations. Species associated with mature forests have decreased steeply. Grassland birds and aerial insectivores have also decreased. Many waterfowl are doing well, although projected droughts in the interior will affect breeding areas.
The organizers thanked all who took part Campbell River’s Christmas Bird Count – outdoors or with feeder counts. To find out more about local bird counts or birding opportunities, email Lu.firstname.lastname@example.org